post-title Ragweed plants packed with pollen 2014-06-11 15:34:11 yes no Posted by

Ragweed plants packed with pollen

Summer fun can turn to fall misery for millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat, or worsening of asthma symptoms are common in people with undiagnosed or poorly managed hay fever. The primary culprit of fall allergies is ragweed pollen. A ragweed plant […]

Posted by

Summer fun can turn to fall misery for millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat, or worsening of asthma symptoms are common in people with undiagnosed or poorly managed hay fever. The primary culprit of fall allergies is ragweed pollen. A ragweed plant only lives one season, but it packs a powerful punch. A single plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains. These grains are very light weight and float easily through the air.  Fall allergy symptoms used to start in mid-August and run through September.  However in many parts of the country these symptoms now begin in early August and extend through October.  Some studies suggest that rising temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels contribute to longer growth time of allergen-producing plants.  Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats the allergen, in this case ragweed, as a foreign invader.  This starts a chemical reaction which produces and sends histamine throughout the blood stream. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms to develop.

 

Controlling symptoms

Proper diagnosis is the first step in managing your symptoms.  An allergist/immunologist will give a physical exam, ask about your health history and perform allergy testing to determine exactly what you are and are not allergic to.  Although there is no cure, ragweed allergy can be managed to improve the quality of your life.  The best control is to avoid contact with the pollen.  This can be difficult, but resources are available.  The National Allergy Bureau TM (NAB) (http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx). tracks
pollen counts regionally to help you plan when you should avoid spending a lot of time outdoors.  Talk to your doctor about medications that may provide temporary relief from symptoms.  Your allergist/immunologist may also recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots) treatment.  This longterm treatment approach can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis.

Latest News on Your Doctor's Blog

Loading…